The AMC renovation in Framingham was and is a welcome change to the theater experience – comfortable red leather recliners; huge dine-in menu; creative bar menu; and attentive servers and staff. It was a long time coming – over 6 months in total. But it was most welcome in the Boston west suburbs, where there are few theatres and a large population hungry for the latest entertainment.
Incredibly, the ticket prices are low – a smidgen over the previous unrenovated price. This is in sharp contrast to other “lux” theatres, where the ticket prices can be over $20 for nearly the same experience. The dine-in experience is reasonable – no entrees over $20 – and the service is well orchestrated and swift. Great technology – screens and sound were also updated and feature the latest gear.
In full disclosure, I was a Friday night regular at the previous incarnation: the AMC Premium Theater. A totally different experience – a separate dining room and bar away from the rest of the theater complex; only over 21 patrons permitted; separate (and really nice) restrooms; home cooked food; and a personal, personable regular staff. I confess I now have the leather seats that I sat in for 14 years (they were on their way to the dumpster when emotion took over and many happy movie memories were preserved by taking them home for my home theater).
I still think there is a market for this kind of experience- small, intimate, high quality – almost a club – with familiar faces every week sitting in their favorite seats to enjoy the fantasy and catharsis that the best of Hollywood has to offer. The Premium was a place to meet friends for dinner then go to our respective seats for the show. One of my most notable birthday parties was held there – great celebrations with friends and family – complete with Star Trek trivia and a Brad Pitt look alike contest (who knew?)
Sorry – I am getting nostalgic… back to the present…
There are still AMC theatres in the Boston area that haven’t been renovated. It’s really difficult to patronize them, even if it’s a movie premiere for the trade. And I just want to mention that the current style is the antithesis of the avowed movie mantra of AMC even a few years ago when one of their execs told me that “we’re not a restaurant chain.” Times change.
I actually have friends who love movies but hate going to movie theaters. AMC Framingham is changing their minds. And hopefully, yours too – Audrey Shine (exclusively for WildAboutMovies).